A page from Princess Soha’s Diary

Neeru saluja - soha 1
















By Neeru Saluja

The clock was about to strike midnight. And I had to talk to the princess before she heads home. Behold Cinderella lovers – this is not a fairytale story but an interview with our very own royal princess Soha Ali Khan!

Daughter of veteran actress Sharmila Tagore and late cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, actress Soha Ali Khan needs no further introduction. She comes from the distinguished aristocratic family of Bhopal and is an established actress in her own right. Like her mother, she is charismatic and elegant with an understated acting prowess.

Soha was the perfect nawabi princess when she arrived in Sydney to judge the Miss/Mrs/Mr India Australia contest. Dressed in a pink and gold Anushree Reddy lehnga, she was confident, candid and down-to-earth when she talked to The Indian Down Under. While the tabloids can’t stop talking about her recent marriage to actor Kunal Khemu, I wanted to know more about the lady who is so comfortable in her skin.


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Soha Ali Khan (middle)  with organiser Reena Koak  and Haveli owner Satinder Benepal

Soha, welcome to Sydney. You have walked the ramp in India for various fashion shows. How’s it to be on the other side of the ramp?

Thanks, I’m thoroughly enjoying my stay in Sydney. Though I’ve been to Australia before, this is the first time I’m judging a pageant. I can’t complain – the contestants, the rounds, the panel, the food – all have been great. It’s good to see the community coming together for this contest. The girls have been working hard and look confident. It takes a lot to come on stage and go through all the gruelling rounds.

Your dad was a famous cricketer and mother a renowned actress. A deadly combination of what our country is crazy about. How was your bringing up amongst such stardom?

My parents were much older by the time I was born. Dad had retired from cricket and mum had left acting. So I haven’t seen them as superstars. For me, they were ordinary parents. When I started working in the film industry I realised their stardom. We were brought up very protected and were taught to embrace the best of both worlds. My parents have done the best job in the world in bringing me up.

How’s your relationship with your brother – actor Saif Ali Khan? I read he took you to a pub when he had to babysit you when you were five!

Not only did he take me to the pub, he even took my pocket money! We have a nine years age difference so he was a teenager then. We have never lived together as he studied in a boarding school and when he came back I went to study in London. But working in the same industry has made us closer. We both have the similar sense of humour. He’s very intellectual, warm, generous, sensitive and entertaining. I know I can always rely on him if I need any advice.

Before films, you had a different career. Was it the love for acting or the strong influence of your family that brought you to films?

Acting is my third profession. I had a cushy job in the banking industry and believe me the film industry is not all about glamour. It was actually a surprise to my family when I expressed my desire of becoming an actress. It was for the love of theatre and acting, not because of my family. Saying this, I believe career is not the most important part of your life. It’s about maintaining the balance.

How do you feel when people keep on asking you the same question – will you work after marriage? Do you feel the careers of actresses change after marriage?

A lot of people have this notion that actresses take a backseat in their careers after marriage. Actresses don’t want to give up their career but this is the attitude of the film industry. Producers assume married actresses are no longer appealing and their fans don’t find them desirable. You will definitely see me in films even though I’m married.

You have always chosen your roles very carefully. Is their a particular role you have in mind for the future?

I want to play a negative character. I want to break my image of the dignified and royal actress. I’m waiting for a role that has grey shades. A character that is out of the box.


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